#KnowYourPelicans: César Ayala
Middle School Administrative Assistant
What is your favorite thing about Packer?
My favorite thing at Packer is the people. Every single person at Packer makes me want to get up and want to come to work. I once read: "Make a life, not a living." And that is what I am doing.
Describe a favorite or memorable moment during your time at Packer.
One of my favorite things to do at Packer is learn about the lives of all of our students. I love talking to them about things that are not related to school. We don't talk politics or sad stuff; we talk about everything else — and that fills me with energy.
A couple times a week, a group of 5th Graders come to the MS office and we play a game called Set. They make fun of me because I get too excited, and my "Sets" are hardly ever right.
One eighth grader and I talk fashion. He swings by the office and we discuss the last red carpet event or the latest trend. It's good to be able to not talk about all the ugliness in the world and to connect with him on something that we both share a passion for.
Name a book/artwork/piece of music that changed your life and explain how.
Two books helped me shape a bit of who I am.
Splitting the Difference: A Heart-Shaped Memoir is the story of a young woman whose husband dies and she shares what she went through in the first couple of weeks after his death. I lost my father when I was 16 and didn't really realize all the things my mother had to endure during the first weeks and months. Besides losing the love of her life, her partner, her friend, and the father of her children, my mother had to be strong and deal with not only my dad's funeral, but also the paperwork, making sure that my brother and I went to school and had all things we needed to carry on.
Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son — well, that book is just beautiful. It's a book about unconditional love, pure love. This memoir provided me with a parent's point of view on what it means to raise kids with different likes and dislikes.
What is something that most Packer people wouldn't know about you?
I grew up on the border of Mexico and the USA. I would travel from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, to El Paso, Texas, every day to go to school starting at the age four. My parents split the family duties: one drove my brother and me in the morning and the other picked us up after school. Sometimes if the line at the border was too long, we would park the car by the border and walk over the bridge and walk to school. I will forever be grateful to my parents for wanting my brother and me to have the best education and, most importantly, to speak English.
My parents earned their income in Mexican currency and had to exchange it for US dollars. When we first started Kindergarten, it was three pesos to one dollar, but as we grew older, the peso lost value. By the time I graduated high school, it was 10 pesos to a dollar. That means that my parents had to spend more of their money, which meant we had less money for other things. Thank you, Mom and Dad!
Kindergarten Teacher Anne Montero
Upper School Science Teacher Alice Lurain
World Languages Teacher Su-Ling Huang
Upper School Art Teacher Eric Baylin
Preschool Teacher Lynnette Arthur
Middle School English Teacher Todd Johnson
Physical Education Teacher and Coach Rich Domanico
Food Services Member Ann Martinez
Lower School Librarian Chris Rush
Upper School Computer Science Teacher Louis Minsky '09
Upper School History Teacher Monika Johnston
First Grade Teacher Irene Turner
Interim Chair of the Arts Department Ali Boag
Middle School Dean of Student Life and Health Teacher Bessie Oster
Fourth Grade Teacher Tim Jensen
Middle School Math Teacher Ashley Greene
Upper School Choral Director Esther Liu Harris
Upper School English Teacher Eric Weisberg
Facilities Staff Member Luciean Seaforth
Director of Global Outreach, Service, and Sustainability Tené Adero Howard '91
Administrative Assistant for Student Services, College Counseling Lydia Monzio
Lower School Associate Teacher Annabelle Baylin